It's Game One against the co-NL Central-leading Pittsburgh Pirates. "Leading" is a bit of a loose term since three of the six teams go into the weekend with records of 2-1, as do the Arizona Diamondbacks. The NL Central beat up on the NL West for the opening series, with the Pirates handily taking two of three from the Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers battling to win two of three over the Colorado Rockies. So far (again, loosely speaking), the NL Central is nothing to scoff at.
The Pirates have a good young core in Andrew McCutchen and Garrett Jones, plus somewhat veteran talent Ryan Church and Bobby Crosby. Their pitching staff seems to be made up similarly, with home grown pitchers like Zach Duke (whom we'll face Sunday) supported by Octavio Dotel and Brendan Donnelly in the bullpen. Their bullpen hasn't given up any runs yet this year.
Rodrigo Lopez gets his first start with the Diamondbacks. Lopez started an average of 28 games a season as a mainstay in the Baltimore rotation, but has had arm problems and only started five games for the Phillies in 2009. Lopez came to spring as a non-roster invitee, had a fantastic spring, and beat out Kevin Mulvey and Billy Buckner for the #4 spot in the rotation. There was a nice article on his excitement about winning the spot, now he gets a shot a proving why he earned it.
Lineup after the jump!
1. Conor Jackson, Left field
2. Stephen Drew, Short stop
3. Justin Upton, Right field
4. Adam LaRoche, First base
5. Mark Reynolds, Third base
6. Miguel Montero, Catcher
7. Chris Young, Center field
8. Kelly Johnson, Second base
9. Rodrigo "The Green Lantern" Lopez, Pitcher
In a night of firsts, pygalgia gets his first shot at the recap. Dare I wish for an interesting game?